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What Your Organization Can Learn From Amazon’s “Upskilling 2025” Program

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HR Technologist, a leading publication for human resources, and learning and development professionals, recently interviewed tech industry leaders to gather key takeaways from Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 program. Among the interviewees, Voxy’s Chief Education Officer, Katie Nielson, Ph.D., offered sound insight.

Days ago, Amazon announced a $700 million plan to retrain employees in their corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and beyond in a program referred to as “Upskilling 2025.” Amazon’s aim is to upskill or give supplemental training to 100,000 of its US employees in an initiative that will mobilize workers into more skilled technical and non-technical roles by 2025.

Amazon’s announcement surfaced the importance of investing in human capital and why more companies should consider the benefits of upskilling. Sure, we live in a time where almost everything is automated. Need groceries delivered in an hour? There’s an app for that. How about a luxury car to the airport in 5 minutes? There’s an app for that too. Automated functions exist everywhere, and the workplace is no exception. Take the role of the bookkeeper, for example, a position at risk of becoming obsolete as cloud computing and other technological advances automate accounting functions. With all this automation, it may be easy to think that investing in human capital has diminished value. This notion could not be further from the truth. In fact, when employers begin with their employees in mind, program participation is higher, and the organization has the added advantage of gaining more skillful workers.

“When employers align upskilling programs with employees’ interests and real-world needs, they are intrinsically motivated to participate and require less encouragement,” Dr. Nielson said during a discussion with HR Technologist.

Investing in human capital has a two-fold benefit. The first benefit is that the organization that invests a moderate sum in training employees today will see significant savings in the future. With increased employee productivity, the need for outsourcing talent is reduced considerably. The secondary benefit is that as certain roles are automated, the organization can move employees into more skilled positions, furthering retention and job satisfaction. Alas, all is not lost for our hypothetical bookkeeper. With an upskilling program in place, the bookkeeper can transition into a role that requires different specialized skills. 

Many tech heavyweights echo similar sentiments about the value of upskilling employees. In HR Technology’s article, a VP of content production at LinkedIn remarks on the importance of encouraging employees to participate in learning programs, while a leader at Skillsoft notes employees should understand the need to upgrade their skills and how retraining applies to new roles moving forward.  We encourage you to dive deeper into takeaways from Amazon’s Upskilling 2025 announcement in HR Technology’s article.

Ready to implement an upskilling program of your own? See how Voxy’s language training can help.